An American Impressionist
1859 July 19, born Midway, Ohio, son of Carl
1876-77 Studied art at University of Cincinnati's
School of Design (later known as The Art
1878-79 Studied at Royal Academy, Munich, where
he won a medal.
1879 Joined Frank Duveneck's class ("Duveneck's
Boys") at Polling, Germany.
1(879-81 With the class to Florence in winters, Venice
in summers. Met Whistler in Venice. Did his
1881 Probably returned to U.S.
1883-84 In Newport, Rhode Island, sharing studio
with Kenyon Cox.
1885 or '86 To Paris; studied briefly at Academic Julien.
1886-87 Summers at Givcrny; met Monet; winters in
Paris. Did his first Impressionist paintings.
1888 Returned to U.S.
1889-90 In Newport. May have revisited Europe in
1892-97 In Boston at 239 Pleasant Square. Taught at
Cowles Art School and Wellcsley College.
1897 Married Philena Stone.
1897-99 Wedding trip to France and Italy. Daughter
Mary born Venice, 1 897.
Theodore Wcndel (detail) by Frank Dtivencck. Location unknown.
1899 Settled on farm at Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Son Daniel born. Lived there rest of his life,
but kept a studio in Boston for some years.
1909 Won Sesnan Medal at Pennsylvania Acad-
emy of the Fine Arts.
1915 Won silver medal at Panama-Pacific Inter-
national Exposition, San Francisco. One-man
exhibition at Guild of Boston Artists.
1917 Illness. Less painting thereafter.
1932 December 19, died at Ipswich.
This exhibition was made possible with funds pro-
vided by the Historic Art Associates of the Whitney
Museum for documenting and presenting American
art oj the past.
In February 1975, the writer received an
answer to a letter written thirty-seven years
earlier. Signed Daniel S. Wendcl, it said in part:
"When your letter of October 25, 1937, was
sent to Theodore Wendcl (my father) in Ipswich,
Mass., he had recently died and in moving his
things some papers were put in my barn, among
them your letter. The papers became lost among
bits of panelling and other remnants of old
houses which I had saved. . . They have only
now come to light."
Thus began the long delayed research started
when I was curator at the Brooklyn Museum. It
has finally led to the present showing of Theo-
dore Wendel's work — his first one-man exhibi-
tion in a museum — and to the forthcoming arti-
cle "Introducing Theodore Wendcl" (Art in
America, November-December, 1976).
Except for Mary Cassatt, who had allied her-
self with the French Impressionists by 1878,
Wendcl was indeed one of the first to adopt the
new style. He and John Leslie Brcck met Claude
Monet at Giverny in 1886, and were both in-
fluenced by him. They were followed there dur-
ing the next three years by Theodore Robinson,
John Singer Sargent, Willard Metcalf, Theodore
Earl Butler and Lilla Cabot Perry. Wendel's
first Impressionist paintings of 1886-87 precede
theirs. All arc Giverny subjects — meadows,
farms, streams and willows. Gently lyrical in
feeling, they are less brilliant technically than the
French master's work (true of all the Americans)
but create their own very genuine poetry.
Back in America, Wendcl refined his art, ex-
perimenting with freer handling and higher
color — perhaps in response to the character of
American light and atmosphere. Some of his
most successful canvases were painted in Ipswich
between 1900 and 19 15. A serious illness in 19 17
brought his painting career virtually to a close,
although a few interesting works were produced
During his lifetime Wendcl enjoyed some
fame: he won medals at several large exhibitions,
had a two-man show with Theodore Robinson
at a Boston gallery and a one-man show at the
Guild of Boston Artists. But a national reputa-
tion eluded him, and since his death his work has
fallen into deeper obscurity. It seems time to look
again at these intimate small paintings, so fresh in
light and color, and to reevaluate their creator.
JOHN I. H. BAUR
All dimensions arc given in inches, height pre-
1. Venice, 1881. oil on canvas, 5 x 13. Mr.
and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.
2. Farm Scene, 1886. oil on canvas, 13% x
22. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.
3. Girl with Turkeys, 1886. oil on canvas,
23 % x 28 Vs . Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.
4. Giverny Farm, c. 1886. oil on canvas,
15 x 18. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.
5. Brook, Giverny, 1887. oil on canvas,
28 V 2 x 3 5 V 2 . Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.
6. Willoivs, c. 1887. OIL ON WOOD PANEL,
13 % x i6 7 /s. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.
7. Pollards, c. 1887. oil on canvas on wood
panel, 14 V 2 x 11%. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S.
8. Apples, c. 1890 (?). oil on canvas, 20V2
x 23. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.
9. Woman Reading, c. 1895. oil on canvas
on wood panel, 20% x 14%. Mr. and
Mrs. James R. Marsh.
10. Gloucester, 1892-96. oil on canvas on
wood panel, 17% x 29%. Mr. and Mrs.
Daniel S. Wendcl.
11. Girl by the Sea, 1894-96. oil on canvas,
8% x 18. Mr. and Mrs. James R. Marsh.
12. Portrait of the Artist' s Wife, c. 1897. oil on
canvas, 1 1 '/ 4 x 9V4 . Mr. and Mrs. James R.
13. The Butterfly Catchers, 1906. oil on can-
vas, 26'/ 8 x 36V8. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S.
14. The Marsh, c. 1906. oil on canvas, 17
x 25. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.
15. Bridge at Ipswich, c. 1908. oil on canvas,
24% x 30. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.
16. The Lower River, Ipswich, c. 1908. oil on
canvas, 301/2 x 37'/2. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel
17. Winter Scene, 1912-14. oil on canvas,
24 !/ 2 x 30 3 /t. Mr. and Mrs. James R. Marsh.
18. Haying, Ipswich, c. 1914. oil on canvas,
29% x 40. Mr. and Mrs. James R. Marsh.
19. Pitching Hay, 1912-15. oil on canvas,
25% x 32 %. Mr. and Mrs. James R. Marsh.
20. Haying, 1912-15. oil on canvas, 24 x 32.
Vosc Galleries of Boston.
21. Winter on die Upper Farm, c. 1925. OIL on
canvas, 30Y2 x 361/4. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel
22. Canal Scene with Figures, 1881. etching,
9 1/4 x 7 (plate). Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S.
23. Palazzo, Venice, 1881. etching, 10% x 6%
(plate). Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.
24. Canal San Biaggio, Venice, 1882. etching,
10 x 6% (plate). Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S.
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street
New York, N. Y. 10021
Telephone (212) 794-0600
October 16-December 5, 1976
Cover: Bridge at Ipswich, c. 1908.
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.